For the record, we are not Oklahoma Sooner fans. But Boomer did come from OK, and we lived there for 3 years. Anyhoo... Boomer has a LOT of energy. Witness:
Boomer needs 2 walks a day to remain in "the zone" of appropriate behavior. So even though 2 walks a day is kind of a pain, we make it work. The hubs usually walks him first thing in the morning and the girls and I try to walk him before Daddy gets home. If it's not too hot. (otherwise, either C. or I will walk him after the girls are in bed or occasionally we'll all take a family walk.)
Sometimes the girls walk, and sometimes, we take the jogging stroller. This beast is some of the best $$ I ever spent.
(old photo, btw.) We always stock up the stroller before leaving... water is a must. Even if it's freezing, someone's always going to be dying of thirst within 5 minutes. Keys. We are no longer using that paci you see. However, it used to be a necessity.
Boomer is always ready. And he's always irritated at how long it takes us to finally get on the road.
Fresh air is always good. We used to walk here in OK...
Now we live in a suburban neighborhood with actual sidewalks. Choose ideas from the following that will work for the situation you find yourself in:
- RACES. Running, Hopping, Arms-Out-Like-Airplanes Flying, Switching off: one child runs to a landmark you point out. The other child races to meet the 1st. Then the 2nd child runs to the next spot you choose. This will alleviate some of the "I WON, I WON! You LOST!" commentary that will inevitably lead to meltdowns. Or have them race but make a "no bending your knees" rule. That should slow them down to a speed walk.
- SING while you walk. Go ahead and belt it out.
- "I SPY with my wee little eye." If I only had a quarter for every time we've played that.
- SPELL nature words. Or saying what letter or sound they start with. Tree. Water. Bird.
- COUNT the birds, the trees, the telephone poles. How many times your child says "can we go home now?" How many times the dog pees on something. How many cars pass you. Or if lots of cars will pass, how many red cars you see.
- MAKE FRIENDS. We are Midwesterners at heart, so we love to wave and say hello to our neighbors as we pass. Once, S. insisted on taking (her sister's) Easter bucket and passing out candy-filled eggs to whomever we met. It's always nice to know your neighbors.
- SAY HI to other dogs, if you're walking one. Or if you're not. We always make sure to ask, "May I please pet your dog?" Before advancing toward the dog in anyway. Not all dogs are as friendly as this one.
- PERTINENT INFO - We often talk about the streets we are on, the street we live on, and learn our address and phone number as we walk. Also Mommy and Daddy's full names and the kiddos' full names as well.
- BOOKS - If it's a stroller kind of day, I'll often give a big picture book to the girls and have them page through it and talk about what they see. Since I"m walking behind them, I can see too and can discuss or point out things I notice too. "Those spotted horses are called Appaloosas!"
Last night, before we left on our walk, S. made up this check list for herself:
She made 10 circles and informed B. we were looking for 10 kinds of flowers. Each time they saw a different kind of flower, she checked a circle. She also doodled some flowers as she rode and apparently crossed off the unicorn when we did not run across one on our walk.
Oh, did I mention, you don't even need a dog to walk? :-) You can do all these things on any walk you take. I highly recommend taking a spin or a walk at least once a day, canine or not. It's good for the soul.